Citizens and legal residents of the United States who are blind or visually impaired can now request a free currency reader from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP).
An application form for those interested is available from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing website and may be downloaded right here.
"The application must be filled out completely, signed by a competent authority that can certify eligibility, and returned to the mailing address provided on the form," the Bureau of Engraving and Printing stated in a news release. "The BEP’s U.S. Currency Reader Program will officially rollout nationally on January 2, 2015, at which
time the BEP will begin processing applications."
Delivery of currency readers is expected to take six-to-eight weeks after the official rollout.
Developed by Orbit Research (www.orbitresearch.com) and called the iBill Currency Identifier, the device is able to read and identify all circulating Federal Reserve notes. That includes $1s, $2s, $5s, $10s, $20s, $50s and $100s. The reader, powered by a single AAA battery, announces the note’s denomination in one of three ways:
- a clear natural voice,
- a pattern of tones, or
- a pattern of vibrations for privacy.
The vibration mode also assists people who are deaf and blind.
In September, the BEP launched a four-month pilot program where existing members of the National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) could pre-order currency readers.
"The pilot program provided an opportunity for the government to test its ordering and distribution process, and gauge demand for currency readers in advance of the national rollout," described the BEP.
NLS members who pre-ordered a reader during the pilot program will begin to receive them in December.
Here is a BEP informational video about the iBill Talking Money Identifier:
About the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
The BEP is the largest producer of security documents in the United States. It is best known for making United States currency, although it also produces and sells detailed intaglio prints and engravings. The bureau prints billions of Federal Reserve Notes each year for delivery to the Federal Reserve System. These notes are produced at facilities in Washington, DC, and Fort Worth, TX.